Severe harm has been caused to the oceanic environment and ecosystem by the increasing presence of plastic detritus and other damaging pollutants. Over the years, threats to the maritime environment from plastic dumping have increased manifold even as maritime bodies and associations come up with significant measures to curb the ill-effects of such pollutants.
The Plastic Aquatic Project is one such initiative aimed at controlling and substantially reducing the presence of noxious pollutants in the oceans. The Plastic Aquatic project has been pioneered by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) in collaboration with the Dutch wing of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).
Project Plastic Aquatic: Details and Features
DNV and WWF-Netherlands have outlined a thorough and systematic objective course for the project. These include not just ocean clean-up operations but also incorporate various analyses and studies so as to understand the ramifications of these various clean-up operations on the oceanic strata. Based on the results of these studies conducted, DNV and WWF have come up with the idea of a unique vessel to carry out the necessary clean-up operations across the varied polluted oceanic geography.
Called as ‘Spindrift’, a name that refers to the fine mist that is sprayed by the waves, the ocean clean-up vessel is expected to be equipped with high-tech equipment and instrumentations. Through the equipping of such extensive cache of equipment, the vessel’s utilization potential is sought to be optimized to the fullest. Some of these equipment include:
- UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to ensure continuous data feed about the oceanic area about the pollutants and detritus
- Satellite feeds and continuous connectivity to satellite feeds to ensure uninterrupted clean-up operations
- Radio-controlled vessels to gauge the prevailing water currents and other climatic conditions on the water’s surface to as to ensure continuity in Spindrift’s operations
- AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) to gauge the concentration of plastic detritus in the water based on the prevailing water current.
The necessary clean-up operations will be carried out based on the extent of concentration of the polluting detritus on the oceanic surface and sub-surface.
- ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) and sub-aquatic light bulbs to undertake sub-water observances of the oceanic area
- Buoys to monitor the oceanic currents and thus allow for uninterrupted clean-up operation
- Antennal leash to provide data feed aerially about ocean zones containing detritus
- Nets to haul in highly entangled detritus and pollutants from within the water
In addition to these, Spindrift is also expected to be equipped with instrumentations to carry onboard research on the various detritus collected and the concentration of the natural marine life-forms.
Spindrift: Technical Specifications
Spindrift will have the following technical characteristics and specifications:
- Length of about 85 metres with a width of about 15 metres
- Draught of over 4.5 metres with operational speeds touching up to 15 knots
- A maximum of three-month operational capacitance
- A motley assortment of researchers, engineers and seafarers to make up for the personnel numbers aboard the Spindrift
Project Plastic Aquatic: Aims and Future Plans
It is hoped that the successful initiation of Project Plastic Aquatic would lay the foundation of more such enterprising researching endeavours. Even in case of Spindrift, the vessel’s viability is being looked at being further elaborated in order to address several other necessary concerns plaguing the marine world presently.